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Jan Huling
Hoboken, NJ
Bead art

Artwork Details
Glass beads & mixed media on Fiberglass and wood armature

Jan Schwab Huling was born in Chicago and raised in St. Louis. After earning a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the Kansas City Art Institute her career began with Hallmark Cards. She then migrated to New York working as a product designer, children’s book author and now beadist.

The spectrum of Huling’s beadwork is diverse, from the very first beaded kazoo, to whole table tops. She’ll transform just about any object into a dreamy piece of ornamental luxury. Sorry Mr. Van der Roe, less just isn’t more when we are talking about the scintillating qualities of her beadwork. She’s not a nudist nor even a Buddhist, Huling is a BEADIST practicing a labor of love within her studio across New York’s great Hudson River in Hoboken.

Huling writes: "Several years ago, my sister came to visit me and brought with her a few Pez dispensers that she'd covered with beads. I found them completely charming and decided to try this craft myself. I started with small objects, kazoos, but was soon inspired by the colors and patterns to cover bigger and bigger pieces. Besides working on a bigger scale, I've also begun to play with the forms themselves, fusing different shapes together, using various found objects to add extra dimension to my work.

"For some 30 years I was a freelance commercial artist, working on everything from dinnerware to ribbon, textiles to teapots. I decided to leave that life behind in 2008 to work full time as a beadist. Inspired by the culture of India and Mexico, particularly that of the Huichol Indians, I try to take mostly ordinary objects such as dolls, instruments, mannequins, and in ornamenting their surfaces, bring out the magic and elegance of their basic shapes. If I can add a bit of wit, so much the better!

"My technique is a meticulous one of stringing tiny glass seed beads in patterns, laying down a very fine line of glue directly on the object, gluing down one line of beads, and pulling out the thread. It's a very slow, zen-like process, but so rewarding as the designs grow and reveal themselves to me. I don't plan my designs, but allow them to grow organically. Having worked all of those years in commercial design, I feel confident enough in my artistic abilities to bead without a net. Seeing the surprising effects that happen when patterns and colors juxtapose on a surface is the reward for what some might consider artistic bravery.

"I've been so pleased at the reception my work has enjoyed, at galleries, online and in a variety of publications. I feel lucky to be making work that is so satisfying to me and also makes other people happy."

This June, Jan Huling will be part of:
GlassWeekend 2015 at WheatonArts
Millville, NJ

She will also have a solo show in August at the Hoboken Historical Museum.